This past week, an overwhelming amount of violence occurred between black men and the police.
The bloodbath began on July 5th in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In this U.S. city, 37-year-old Alton Sterling, a black man, was murdered in a police-involved shooting near a local convenience store. The convenience store owner recorded the tragic incident with his cellphone camera and posted it online for the world to see.
In the video, Sterling is pinned to the ground by two officers. One of them has a gun drawn. While both of Sterling’s arms are fastened to the ground, one of the officers shoots Sterling several times, killing him. But police in America were not through yet.
Approximately 24 hours later, another police-involved shooting near St. Paul, Minnesota took the life of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man from the Minneapolis area. Castile was initially stopped by police because of a defective taillight on his vehicle.
Moments later, Castile was shot as he went for his driver’s license by the officer who conducted the traffic stop. However, this wanton act of brutality did not go unseen and swept under the rug. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds (pictured) was a witness to his death and captured everything via live Facebook video.
“He let the officer know that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” Reynolds said in the live video
“Please don’t tell me this, Lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir,” she continued.
During this terrifying ordeal (which happened in front of her very young daughter), Reynolds remained calm and spoke in a composed vocal tone. She was not disrespectful or blatantly defiant. Though she may not have been able to save her boyfriend’s life, she made sure that the world saw the illegal injustice that unfolded in the moments prior to his death.
This courageous black woman is a national hero. Her bravery during a tragedy like this one speaks volumes about the strength of black women. David A. Love, a columnist for The Grio summed up the fortitude of Diamond Reynolds perfectly. Love writes:
“Diamond Reynolds should remind us of the women who survived the trauma of the slave ship dungeons of the Middle Passage. Or Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and returned as an abolitionist to take hundreds back with her on the Underground Railroad to freedom. And as if to outdo even herself, Tubman became an armed scout and a spy for the Union Army.” (TheGrio.com)
I want to thank you, Ms. Reynold’s for your grace, soul, and strength. If it were not for you, Philando Castile would not be a household name and the actions carried out by the rogue police officer who took his life would not have been exposed. May God bless you and keep you as you continue to exist as a survivor and champion of justice.